Wednesday, April 29, 2015

SCOTUS expected Congress to fix voting rights act. Really?

That's what Steve Benen writes at MSNBC/Rachel Maddow Show/The Maddow Blog.

It was just last month when much of the nation’s attention turned to Selma, Alabama, where Americans saw former President George W. Bush stand and applaud a call for Congress to restore the Voting Rights Act with a bipartisan bill. Many wondered if, maybe sometime soon, Congress’ Republican majority might agree to tackle the issue.

Voting-rights advocates probably shouldn’t hold their breath. Soon after the event honoring those who marched at the Edmund Pettus Bridge a half-century ago, Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas) dismissed the very idea of working on the issue. "I think Eric Holder and this administration have trumped up and created an issue where there really isn’t one," the Texas Republican said.

Asked if Congress should repair the Voting Rights Act formula struck down by the Supreme Court, Cornyn replied, simply, "No."

The Supreme Court is now batting 0 for 2. Twice they have made a ruling expecting Congress to fix something - first Citizens United and then the voting rights act. In both cases, the expectation was in error.

What’s more, the Supreme Court’s ruling on the VRA came with a call from the majority justices for lawmakers to craft a new formula for federal scrutiny. There was, in other words, an expectation that Congress, which reauthorized the VRA repeatedly and easily over the decades, would respond to the court ruling with a revised policy.

And yet, here are leading Senate Republicans effectively responding, two years later, "Nah, let’s not bother to do anything at all."

Maybe the next time SCOTUS rules it will not embarrass itself further with a silly statement about Congress fixing anything.

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